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Top-10 Green Building Products 2007 [BuildingGreen]

SunEye from Solmetric

Well, it’s that time again and BuildingGreen, a company that also publishes the GreenSpec Directory, today announced their list of Top-10 Green Building Products.  It’s not so much that these products are better than everything else on the market, although they may be better, it’s that they’re cool additions to the GreenSpec Directory over the last year or so.  Most of the following ten products have multiple environmental attributes, but here’s a slim breakdown:  4 save energy, 2 save water, 3 are made of green materials, 1 helps situate solar power, and 2 avoid hazardous manufacturing/disposal of materials.  Without further ado:

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Urban Rio, Panama's First Affordable Green Container Project

Urban Rio

UPDATE 3/16/09Urban Core International has gone dark.  The website was shut down.  If you have any concerns, feel free to contact us

Aaron Newman, founder and managing partner of Urban Core International, sent me the details of his latest project, Urban Rio.  Specifically, Urban Rio is a product of Urban Core's prefab and container division called Envision Prefab.  It's easy on the eyes, to say the least, and just so happens to be the first sustainable, affordable, container project in Panama. 

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William McDonough Launches Blog, C2C Community

C2c William McDonough and Michael Braumgart, founders of MBDC and authors of the popular Cradle to Cradle book, just announced the launch of their new blog, the Cradle to Cradle Community Blog.  The blog looks to be authored authentically by the experts themselves, so we won’t have to chase after old Bioneers videos on Youtube just to get some wit and wisdom from McDonough himself.  I can’t wait to read this, although it would be nice to have an RSS reminder every now and then.  Simultaneously, they’ve announced the creation of the Cradle to Cradle Community Forum.  The forum has subcategories for discussions on Cradle to Cradle Design, Innovative Materials, Closing Loops, and Cradle to Cradle Certification.  There’s free and subscription levels within the forum and it looks like premium members get to participate in live chats.  Fair enough.

Dwelling Dock, Integrating Sustainability and Living

Dwelling Dock

Matt Allert took second place in the Cascadia Region GBC‘s Emerging Green Builders Natural Talent Design Competition this year with his idea, the Dwelling Dock [pdf].  The Dwelling Dock is premised on the idea that sustainability should begin with the most basic building block of our communities: the dwelling.  It’s an attempt to fully integrate the infrastructure of the housing unit with the environment.  Although purely in concept stage, the Dwelling Dock would be prefabricated, and would include all the accoutrements we’ve come to expect in green homes:  pervious paving, recycled materials, living roof, water collection, and photovoltaic panels. 

Allert’s goals for the Dwelling Dock project include some of the following: (1) collect rainwater for re-use, (2) produce energy on-site, (3) minimize site disturbance and preserve existing site resources, (4) use local materials, and (5) integrate sustainable design with recycled, low-VOC materials.  And I’ve got to admit, I really like the design elements.  Butterfly living roof.  3-level living.  A healthy mixture of privacy and transparency.  Would you live in one?

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Extreme Recycling in the Big Dig House

Bigdighouse

The Big Dig House by Single Speed Design is a testament to recycling.  More than 600,000 pounds of material were recovered from the massive Boston transit project known as the Big Dig and were reused to make this 3,400 square foot house.  Temporary road sections (formerly used as access ramps for a bridge), support beams that shored up a slurry wall, and other pieces were saved from being sent to a landfill and instead became the bones of this unique home.

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Graham & Brown Recycled, Renewable Wallpaper

Geometric Grahambrown

Graham & Brown, the well-known 60 year-old wallpaper company, now claims that, "about 50% of an average roll of our wallpaper is made from renewable resources."  Their claim is backed by the FSC logo, which appears on all Graham & Brown wallpaper.  Now, that isn’t really a staunch enough commitment for me, but in the wallpaper world, Graham & Brown is one of the only companies making any real effort towards "greening" themselves.  Some of their other environmental policies are more impressive.  For example, they run a Waste-to-Energy Plant, which means they use their pollution to create more energy on-site instead of releasing into the environment.  They also use recycled rainwater, have special drainage systems to reduce runoff, and use non-acidic inks and coatings, which are more eco-friendly than conventional methods. 

I have never been much of a fan of wallpaper: it’s a pain to put up, it’s a pain to take down, and the patterns were traditionally dowdy and drab.  But, in the new wave of retro-modern, bright, and bold patterns, I have become a convert. 

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